The Quiet Side of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island is aptly named and full of beauty that one can enjoy in silence and solitude. As I drove along the Loop Road in Acadia National Park, even the not-quite-busy season crowds were enough on a beautiful Saturday in early June to deter me from stopping and sketching as often as I would have otherwise. Then I drove across to the Quiet Side and felt all tension melt away as I left the crowds of people and lines of cars behind.
I stayed for a few delightful days with a friend in a little one room cottage in the village of Southwest Harbor. Jana is an incredible artist who has spent a great deal of time exploring and painting all over Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park (see her website here– Jana Matusz), and over the days I stayed with her she shared many of her favorite hiking and painting spots with me. We hiked out to less-known but beautiful spots where we painted the coast or the woodlands. We watched a Peregrine Falcon fly in with food for her chicks, we saw a gorgeous Common Loon on her nest trying to be invisible, we saw an Osprey carrying a fish to its nestlings and then flying away with it again (did the chicks turn up their noses at it?), we climbed the aptly named Perpendicular Trail, we bushwacked down to a beautiful waterfall, and we tried, as so many have, to push Bubble Rock off the cliff where it hangs seemingly so precariously, and, of course, we ate lobster!
Like me, Jana likes to hike and paint quietly, so we both greatly appreciated the spirit of the Quiet Side. While we often chatted and laughed while driving from place to place, we hiked mostly without speaking, marveling at the play of light and shadow on birch trees along the trail or the various songs of myriad birds who mostly remained unseen or sudden vistas opening out before us. Then once we’d decided on a place to paint, we’d fall into a comfortable and companionable silence, each focused on our work, each appreciating the spot in our own way and attempting to capture it with our brushes. Be sure to check out Jana’s paintings on her website. We use different mediums and paint very differently, but I love her work and learn from studying every painting of hers.
It was a wonderful few days of hiking and sketching and I am eager to return and do some more exploring and painting. Many thanks to Jana for sharing her love and knowledge of the Quiet Side!
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